This is part three of a three part series on mortifying pride in my heart. I pray it will help you and help me as I remember this significant season in my life.
I want to share with you a journal entry. I wrote this after Tom had corrected me about seeing an area of pride. I had asked him to point pride out to me whenever he saw it. After confessing how God was revealing pride to me to another couple to whom we’re accountable, he said that I shared it all in a very animated, colorful way. It seemed to him that I was prideful about seeing my pride! This is what I wrote:
How right Tom is in correcting me! My focus wasn’t on God who forgives, but on ME who saw my sin! I was and am still impressed that I am seeing it, and I want others to know, so that they will see how I am mortifying pride – all the while pridefully enjoying the attention. I see my pride as dirty laundry, thinking if I wash it, it will be okay. This is a lie! There is no such thing as “clean pride,” for this is what crucified my Lord. God showed me that the vine that grows rampantly in my Secret Garden could have been the crown of thorns that Christ wore. My pride was there on the Cross-that day, mocking and crucifying the One I say I love. How can I so casually speak of it? Father, help me to hate it! Right now I just don’t like it, but I have no idea what it means to hate this sin. May I not volunteer to casually speak of it or to give it an audience. May I be ashamed of it, confess it and run from it. Show me, Lord how to please You in my mortification of sin, instead of pleasing my reputation. Help!
Another example was after an extended season of serving a friend, I learned that she was going to be publicly sharing her testimony on a Sunday morning. I was nervous because I didn’t know how I would handle her commending me in front of the entire church! I took this matter to prayer, wanting to seek humility when God interrupted my thoughts with this question, “Why are you assuming she’ll even mention your name?” See how quickly my heart can be deceived? I was once again brought low by the realization of my sin. That Sunday, God in His mercy didn’t let her say a thing about me, which is what God wanted. If she had, I think this quote from Josh Harris would have been my experience:
“In place of true humility we learn certain words or phrases that we believe make us sound humble. ‘Oh, really? It was nothing’, or ‘Anyone could have done it.’ We cast our eyes down and shrug our shoulders or maybe even blush. Of course, we don’t really mean it – inside we’re congratulating ourselves for how humble we look and feel. We want the reputation but don’t know how to get to the reality. Like children playing dress-up in their parents’ clothes, we’re only acting humble, none of it really fits us.”
I’ll share another example. Our church produced a Christmas production for many years called, The Bash. I was on the Bash Team and had spent many months writing, directing and rehearsing with the cast of the finale. When it finally came – it was a huge success! The cast did a great job – and the audience was moved to tears mainly because the focus was on saying good-bye to those who would be leaving our church for a new church plant in January.
The following Wednesday was our home group meeting. Tom became very sick and said he didn’t think he’d be able to make it. I told him that I thought maybe I should go anyway, since we were fairly new to the group, and we wanted to show our support. Tom told me I could do whatever I wanted. So, I hopped in the car and was on my way – leaving my sick husband to fend for himself!
I got about two miles down the road when the Lord asked, “Why are you going to home group and leaving Tom at home?” I thought the answer had already been determined. Then, He answered His own question, “You are determined to go tonight only because you want to hear the people commend you on the Bash!” Ugh! So strong was this craving in me that I was willing to leave my sick husband. Needless to say I turned around, went home and repented to Tom.
How did I know that this was God speaking to me? Because I wouldn’t have had this thought on my own. It was a small voice that nudged at my conscience. I could have easily blown over it and justified my actions, but because I had been praying for God to show me this sin, He was allowing me to see what I had been blind to for years–the motives behind my actions.
Only God can Himself or through others, reveal to me the pride that grows in my sinful heart. I am incapable of seeing it on my own. And only God has made a way for me to change. He knew before I ever took my first breath what a proud piece of work I would be, yet He still chose to lavish His grace on me. He desires to walk with me daily helping me to change, one confession of pride at a time. Why? Why has He been so kind to me…to all of us? The answer is simple, yet profound–because He loves us. What a Savior! Because of Him, we have hope!
Has there been a time in your life when God was pursuing your heart with such intensity? How did it effect your growth in godliness? How did it effect your love for the Savior? For your spouse? For others?